There’s no holiday on the Jewish calendar more associated with consuming alcohol than Purim.
As far back as the Talmud and again in the Shulchan Orech, we read of rabbis debating whether you are obligated to get so drunk you can’t tell the difference between the holiday’s protagonist, Mordechai, and its villain, Haman, or if you are simply obligated to “drink a bit more than usual.”
No matter how much alcohol one drinks on Purim, it’s clear we’re supposed to drink something special. Here are two cocktail recipes and one punch recipe that are easy to prepare and even more fun to drink, especially with a crowd.
Chatham Artillery Punch
If your goal is to get so intoxicated you can’t tell the difference between good and evil, this is your drink.
Legend has it that this Savannah concoction originated in the late 1700s for George Washington’s arrival at the Chatham Artillery. Others guess it was created in the mid-1800s to celebrate the Chatham Artillery’s return to Savannah after training drills in the northern part of the state.
Either way, this punch is colloquially known as “the Strongest Drink in America.”
1 pound sugar
750 ml bottle bourbon or rye
750 ml bottle dark Jamaican rum
750 ml bottle brandy or cognac
2 bottles sparkling wine
Peel the lemons and place the peels in a container with the sugar, mixing well to incorporate. Let that sit for at least an hour or even overnight. After peeling, juice the lemons, and reserve the juice. After the lemon peels have had their time in the sugar, add the lemon juice. Stir well to melt the sugar, then strain out the peels.
In a very large bowl (or bucket, about 2 or 3 gallons), combine all the whiskey, cognac/brandy, rum, lemon juice/sugar and sparkling wine. Serve in individual cups over ice and watch out — this won’t taste lethal, but the history books tell tales of this punch laying out entire military units in one night.
With its deep red color and its bubbles, this simple drink is sure to be a hit, and it’s great for a crowd. Blood oranges should be easy to find in the store — they’re in season now. If you can’t find them, feel free to use fresh grapefruit juice instead. The flavor will be just as great. If you’re not a fan of gin, you can easily swap it out for vodka.
2 ounces gin
1 ounce blood orange juice
Sweet sparkling wine to top
Combine the blood orange juice (be sure to strain it) and the gin in a glass with ice and mix well. Strain out the ice and pour into a stemmed glass such as a coupe, martini or flute. Top with sweet sparkling wine and enjoy.
Everyone loves margaritas, and they’re absurdly easy to make. This one uses fresh strawberries for an extra bit of flavor and fun, especially because strawberry season is just beginning. (If you want to stay traditional and leave out the berries, just double the triple sec, and you’ll have a classic margarita.)
Let’s also get this out of the way to start: Do not, under any circumstances, buy “margarita mix.” It’s sickly sweet and can’t hold a candle to the classic, which is made with fresh lime juice. Trust me: It’s worth the trouble of squeezing limes.
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce lime juice
½ ounce triple sec or other orange liqueur
1 ounce strawberry syrup*
Pinch of kosher salt
Shake all the ingredients together (except the salt) to combine, and strain into a rocks glass with ice or a stemmed glass without. I like to finish with a pinch of salt over the top of the drink and not around the rim. Garnish with a strawberry or a wedge of lime.
If you prefer to rim your glass with salt instead of using it in the drink, rub the edge of your empty glass with the squeezed lime, and push the glass into a pile of kosher salt.
* Strawberry syrup: Bring 1 cup of chopped strawberries, ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water to a slow simmer until it turns very smooth. Strain the liquid, and allow the syrup to cool. It will last in the fridge for about two weeks.
Robbie Medwed writes for koshercocktail.com. Find these and other kosher cocktail recipes there. L’chaim!